America at war! (1941--) -- Part 2

Sole air crew survivor treks 141 days to safety

Alabama’s sergeant’s companions die in Australian bush country as plane encounters storm

Edson: Desert soldiers stage fly blitz and end illness

By Peter Edson

Ferguson: Army and the colleges

By Mrs. Walter Ferguson

More than a dozen plays will be made into films

By Howard Barnes

Ashes of Yamamoto lie in state in Tokyo

By the United Press

Ernie Pyle V Norman

Roving Reporter

By Ernie Pyle

In Tunisia – (by wireless)
The major portion of my time during the Tunisian campaign was spent with the 1st Infantry Division and the 1st Armored Division. That was because they were the earliest ones on the scene and I was best acquainted with them.

But there were other divisions in Tunisia too, and in the final phase all contributed their part to the cracking of the Hun. If the war had lasted longer, I would have swung over and written about these other units too, but since that chance didn’t come, those of you at home who have men in these divisions may know that what I’ve written about one is largely representative of all.

The 1st Armored Division was the one that made the kill and got the mass of prisoners. Yet their fighting was no better and no greater than that of the 1st Infantry Division, which lost so heavily cleaning out the mountains, or of the 34th Division, which took the key Hill 609 and made the victory possible, or of the 9th Division, which swept the Heinies out of the rough coastal country in the north, or of the Artillery that softened up the enemy, or of the fighting Engineers who kept streams bridged and highways passable. Or of any other of the countless units that contributed to the whole, and without a single one of which all the others would have been lost.

Plenty of everything!

In this final phase of the Tunisian campaign, we have yet to hear a word of criticism of our men. They fought like veterans. They were well handled. We had enough of what we needed. Everything meshed perfectly, and the end was inevitable. So, you at home need never be ashamed of our American fighters. Even though they didn’t do too well in the beginning, there was never at any time any question about the Americans’ bravery.

It is a matter of being hardened and practiced by going through the flames. Tunisia has been a good warmup field for our armies. We will take an increasingly big part in the battles ahead.

The greatest disservice you folks at home can do our men over here is to believe we are at last over the hump. For actually – and over here we all know it – the worst is yet to come.

Our frontline troops are by now getting pretty well saturated with little personal things they got from the Germans. Nearly everybody has a souvenir of some kind, running all the way from machine guns to writing paper.

Fancy pistol grips

A good many soldiers have made new pistol grips for themselves out of the windshields of shot-down German planes. The main advantage of this switch from the regulation handle is that the composition is transparent; you can put your girl’s picture under the grip and it will show through.

Sgt. Gibson Fryer, of Troy, Alabama, has a picture of his wife on each side of the handle of his .45. Sgt. Fryer has noticed that the Germans are very neat in some ways. They have little toilet kits in their pockets. Among his souvenirs is a pair of manicure scissors he got from a prisoner long before the big surrender came.

Sgt. Fryer had an experience on one of the last few days of the campaign that will be worth telling his grandchildren about. He was in a foxhole on a steep hillside. An 88mm shell landed three feet away and blew him out of his hole. He rolled, out of control, 50 yards down the rocky hillside. He didn’t seem to be wounded, but all his breath was gone. He couldn’t move. He couldn’t make a sound. His chest hurt. His legs wouldn’t work.

A medic came past and poked him. Sgt. Fryer couldn’t say anything, so the medic went on. Pretty soon two of Fryer’s best friends walked past and he heard one of them say:

There’s Sgt. Fryer. I guess he’s dead.

And they went right on too.

It was more than an hour before Fryer could move, but within a few hours he was perfectly normal again. He laughs and says that if his wife sees this in print she’ll think for sure he’s a hero.

Mission to Moscow: Movie distortion extends to diary of envoy Davies

First pages of book made no secret of bad food conditions in Russia, yet film shows feast at frontier
By Eugene Lyons

U.S. State Department (May 24, 1943)

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 4:45 p.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Field Marshal Dill
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier General Deane
Brigadier Jacob

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 24, 1943, 4:45 p.m.


Report to the President and Prime Minister (CCS 242/3)

The President indicated his satisfaction and that of the Prime Minister with regard to the unanimity of opinion and the satisfactory decisions that had been arrived at by the Combined Chiefs of Staff. He was particularly grateful that so much had been accomplished in such a short time. He said the Prime Minister recalled that in the last war decisions were made with undue speed. There was no organized group which corresponded to our Combined Chiefs of Staff which was able to provide continuity in the strategic direction of the war.

The Prime Minister said that “today we meet in the presence of a new fact”; namely, what might prove to be decisive progress in the anti-U-boat war. There were indications that there might be as many as 30 sinkings in May. If this continued, a striking change would come over the scene.

The President then read the draft report contained in CCS 242/3. There was complete agreement on all items until he came to paragraphs 6 and 7 under Section III. These were amended slightly.

Section III, Paragraph 9 – Rearmament of French forces

With regard to paragraph 9 under Section III, Admiral King pointed out that the original paper provided only for the equipment of French Army Forces in North Africa. At his suggestion the paragraph was changed to apply to French Forces in Africa.

The Prime Minister said that Admiral Godefroy had received an order from Vichy to scuttle his ships in Alexandria. He had replied that he had definitely thrown in his lot with General Giraud’s forces. As a result of this action the British Government would probably lift the pay ban on Godefroy’s squadron. It was now Admiral Godefroy’s desire that his heavy ships would proceed around the Cape, call at Dakar, and then proceed to the United States for refitting.

Section IV, Paragraph 1 a – Operation to seize the Azores

The Prime Minister said that the political considerations involved in the seizure of the Azores must be considered. There was a possibility that the Islands might be secured without the necessity of utilizing a force as strong as 9 battalions. He suggested that a smaller force might approach the Azores in June. From 7 to 10 hours before its arrival, the Portuguese Government might be approached diplomatically and told that the force was en route. If they were received without opposition, the Portuguese Government would be reimbursed by whatever figure might be set. He thought the chances were possibly 3 to 1 that the Portuguese Government would submit.

The Prime Minister said that he personally favored an expedition in sufficient force to take the Islands. His government, however, had not as yet authorized him to approve such action. The British cabinet members felt that the matter should be further discussed on his return.

General Marshall said that if a smaller force could be assembled in June which would act as a threat to back up a diplomatic approach, he would favor such action. He thought the present success in the anti-submarine warfare made it even more imperative that the use of the Islands be obtained as soon as possible.

Admiral King pointed out that if President Salazar refused to give his assent and the smaller force failed to attack, the Allied Forces would be in a bad position. They would have the humiliation of withdrawing; the Germans would know of the diplomatic approach and, as a result, would stiffen the resistance of the Islands.

The President said that he had never liked the idea of being put in a position of permitting President Salazar to call our bluff. He was inclined to favor the approach with sufficient force to take the Islands in the event that President Salazar refused to permit a peaceful occupation.

General McNarney suggested the possibility of reinforcing the bluff by timing it with the sailing of a Husky convoy from the United Kingdom.

The Prime Minister said that the earlier operation would have a good prospect of success as the Portuguese would have no way of knowing how strong the force was with which they were threatened.

General Ismay said that a plan was being examined to see if something less than a full-scale operation could be mounted.

The Prime Minister said that he was content to leave paragraph 1 a of Section IV as it was written, and that he would discuss the matter with his government upon his return to England and let the President know the outcome of these discussions. He suggested the addition of the following sentences to the end of the paragraph:

The possibility of an earlier move will receive further study. The political decision involved will be settled in the meanwhile by the two governments.\

The President suggested that in his discussions with the Cabinet the Prime Minister might bear in mind the alternative of an approach to the Portuguese Government by the USA and Brazil. In any case, the idea that Brazil might provide the occupying force would be a strong factor in influencing the Portuguese Government to submit.

Section IV, Paragraph 2 b – Cross-Channel operations

The President then read paragraph 2 of Section IV regarding the combined bomber offensive from the United Kingdom and the cross-Channel operations. He asked if the decision as written in paragraph 2 b precluded the use of French Divisions in the assault to be made on the Continent.

The Prime Minister suggested that the use of French Forces might be covered if the last subparagraph of paragraph 2 b could be changed to read “that the follow-up divisions might come from the United States or elsewhere.”

The President said, however, that he was considering the advisability of having a French Division as either one of the 9 assault divisions, or, at least, as one of the first 20 buildup divisions. He thought that politically it was of great importance to have the French represented in the first attempt to reconquer French soil.

General Marshall asked if there was any possibility of this decision being communicated to the French.

The Prime Minister replied that he thought that would be extremely dangerous. General Giraud and General de Gaulle were soon to have another meeting. He felt that this meeting might result in violent disputes. General Giraud had become stronger because of the Tunisian victories while de Gaulle would think, of course, that he was about to regain control. The important thing was not to let these two French generals create discord between the United States and the British. He did not feel reassured regarding the outcome of the Giraud-de Gaulle conference. He thought it extremely important not to inform the French of our decisions when there was the prospect of a split.

The President said he thought it was entirely satisfactory to leave any mention of the utilization of French Forces in the assault on the Continent out of the paper which was under consideration provided it was recorded in the minutes of the present meeting and if it was understood by the Staffs that serious consideration should be given to the participation of some French Forces early in the operation.

Admiral King pointed out that the decision regarding cross-Channel operations, as set forth in paragraph 2 b of Section IV, failed to make any mention of the month-by-month planning that was being undertaken by General Morgan in London for the purpose of insuring readiness on the part of such forces as were available in the United Kingdom in the event of the German crackup.

The President agreed that it would be a good idea to put agreed decisions concerning month by month planning in the report. He pointed out that it was impossible to tell when a break in the German resistance might take place. In the last war the first element of the German Forces to crack was the submarine crews. He felt that at the rate they were now losing submarines, that is, one a clay, the crews would be unable to stick it. German submarine losses in 1918 were not as great as those they are now experiencing and yet they had induced a break in the German morale. Recently airplanes have entered two theaters of operations with definite objectives. These had failed to reach their objective by 10 or 20 miles, but it is known that the reports they rendered when they returned to their bases stated that the objectives had been reached. He thought that this was indicative of a bad state of morale and efficiency in the German Air Force. These conditions were bound to spread. As soon as the German ground forces learned that they did not have adequate air protection and that the U-boat campaign had failed, the news would spread rapidly and a serious break in morale might come unexpectedly. For these reasons it was essential that the Allies be prepared to take advantage of such conditions whenever they might occur. The President also said that there had been rumors of a German evacuation of Norway. He thought that plans should be under preparation to take advantage of such a contingency.

The Prime Minister suggested that a subparagraph be put into the paper at the end of paragraph 2 b of Section IV which would read as follows:

Meanwhile preparations will be continuously kept up to date in order to take advantage of a collapse of the enemy in France, or, alternatively, for the occupation of Norway in the event of a German withdrawal.

In reply to a question by the President, Sir Charles Portal said that for bombing operations, air bases in Norway would not be of great assistance. It would be more economical to utilize those in England than it would be to build new ones in Norway, especially since Norway would not greatly extend the bombing range. He added, however, that it would have a very beneficial effect if fighters could be based on air fields in southern Norway.

The Prime Minister pointed out that if Norway could be occupied, it would reopen our communications with Russia. This fact, in itself, would make it imperative that immediate advantage be taken of the situation.

The Prime Minister said that the United States authorities would be kept informed of studies being made by General Morgan’s Staff in this regard.

Section IV, Paragraph 2 c – Operations in the Mediterranean to eliminate Italy from the war

The Prime Minister inquired whether the Poles were included in the forces detailed in this paragraph as available for garrisons and operations in the Mediterranean.

Sir Alan Brooke confirmed that these were included in the 19 British or Allied Divisions.

The Prime Minister said that he hoped that it was not the intention of this paragraph to commit us to carrying out particular operations. For example, he would be very much opposed to any idea of an operation to capture Sardinia as a sequel to HUSKY. This would be an eccentric operation, which would have no influence on the securing of the great prize open to us if we could take the toe and heel of Italy, and gain touch with the insurgents of the Balkan countries.

Admiral King pointed out that it was stated in the paragraph that cach specific operation would be subject to the approval of the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

Sir Alan Brooke said that General Eisenhower would not be able to tell which operation he could do after Husky until the situation had declared itself. The idea, therefore, was to plan several operations and to decide, at the meeting to be held after HUSKY had been launched, which of them to carry out.

The President said that it was certainly difficult to foretell what the conditions would be. For example, it might be that a movement in Sardinia to separate from Mussolini’s regime might gain way, and consequently comparatively small forces could gain possession of the island. Or again, as one report suggested, the Germans might decide to withdraw their forces behind the Po, in which case entry into southern Italy would be easy. It might be better to widen the instructions to General Eisenhower, and to tell him to prepare operations against all parts of southern Europe.

General Marshall said that General Eisenhower would prepare a number of different operations, and which of them was adopted would be determined when we saw how HUSKY went. General Eisenhower had already put in summaries of plans against the heel and toe of Italy, and against Sardinia, and had expressed a preference for Sardinia. Air Chief Marshal Tedder had dissented from this conclusion, mainly on account of the difficulties of staging an attack on Sardinia with adequate air support.

Sir Charles Portal said that Air Chief Marshal Tedder had also thought that the value of northern Italy as a base from which to bomb Germany had been underrated.

The Prime Minister said that the prime factor which should be kept in mind was the position in the Balkans, where 34 Axis Divisions were held in play by rebels, who would become much more active if we could gain touch with them through Durazzo, or any other suitable point. Of course, if Italy went out of the war, then the Italian Divisions would have to withdraw, and Germany would either have to fill the gap, or retire to the Danube. The effect on Turkey would be very important. None of these effects could possibly accrue from an operation against Sardinia.

Sir Alan Brooke pointed out that General Eisenhower would be instructed to prepare those operations which were best calculated to eliminate Italy. It was the elimination of Italy which would place these prizes within our grasp, and the right operation to bring this about would depend upon the situation after HUSKY. Moreover, much would depend upon events on the Russian Front. It might be that the presence of large numbers of Germans in the toe and heel would make a direct assault on this unprofitable – in which case Sardinia would be a better choice.

The Prime Minister did not agree that Sardinia could be an acceptable alternative. Operations in the general direction of the Balkans opened up very wide prospects, whereas the capture of Sardinia would merely place in our possession a desirable island. There was nothing in the paper which would indicate to General Eisenhower that we held a view on this matter. The politico-strategic aspect would not be present in his mind.

The President said he did not feel ready to make up his mind on this matter. Certainly there were greater advantages in going to places other than Sardinia, but he did not think we were ready yet to say where.

Discussion then took place on the exact meaning of the word to mount an operation.

Sir Alan Brooke said that to mount an operation meant to draw up the plans, to allocate the forces, and to give them the necessary special training. HUSKY, for example, had been mounted during VULCAN. It was quite possible to mount more than one operation at a time, as considerable changes could always be made, and, indeed, had been made quite recently in the HUSKY plan.

The Prime Minister thought that the word mount meant the fixing on a particular operation for execution to the exclusion of others. He did not think more than one operation at a time could be mounted with the same resources.

After some further discussion, The Prime Minister suggested that he should take further time to consider this paragraph, and said that he would propose certain amendments for consideration.

Section IV. Paragraph 2 d – The bombing of Ploești

The Prime Minister said that he hoped the bombing of Ploești would not be carried out if it meant a considerable inroad into the preparatory aerial bombardment for HUSKY.

General McNarney said that the bombers which would be taken from the North African Theater to bomb Ploești would only be away for four or five days. It was the units which would come from the United Kingdom which would be absent for a longer period.

General Marshall pointed out that the type of aircraft to be used was the B-24, which was not of such value for the Husky preparatory bombardment as the B-17. He thought that if Ploești could be seriously damaged, it would be a blow of tremendous importance in support of operations on the Russian Front. The decision depended upon the comments and recommendations of the Commander in Chief, North African Theater.

Section IV, Paragraph 3 a – Operations in the Burma-China Theater

The President asked Mr. Hopkins what he thought the Generalissimo’s reactions would be to these proposals.

Mr. Hopkins replied that he did not think that the Generalissimo should be told of the decisions reached in the Conference. He predicted that if he were told, he would not agree with them, although secretly he would not be unhappy about them. He would resent more than anything else not having been consulted. Mr. Hopkins suggested that Mr. Soong be told tomorrow that ANAKIM is to go on.

General Marshall said that he thought the Chinese would have to be told a little more about the operations than was proposed by Mr. Hopkins. The Chinese were constantly pressing to see him concerning the decisions that were made, and he felt it wise to tell them everything except the details concerning the capture of Akyab and Ramree Islands.

The President said in this regard they simply should be told that an occupation of a base on the Burma Coast by amphibious operations was included in the decision but that the details would have to be worked out after further consideration.

The Prime Minister proposed that the Chinese should be informed as follows:

Further study of ANAKIM has led to the following plan:

  1. A large-scale buildup of air combat forces and a rapid buildup of the air transport route to China.
  2. A vigorous offensive in the northern part of Burma with the purpose of opening the Burma Road and regaining contact with China.
  3. Amphibious operations against the coast of Burma with the view to controlling communications in the Bay of Bengal.

The Prime Minister however, indicated that he would prepare a written suggestion as to what should be told to the Chinese.

Section VI, Paragraph 1 – Equipment for Turkey

The Prime Minister said he wished it definitely understood that the Turks would be informed regarding the origin of any equipment that was given to them from United States production. He felt that the same rule should apply to equipment given to Russia.

General Marshall said that in discussing the paragraph regarding equipment for Turkey, the United States Chiefs of Staff had been concerned more with the availability of the equipment and its effects on our training than they were with who received the credit for giving it to the Turks.

The Prime Minister said he understood the situation perfectly.

The President went on to consider the remainder of the paper which was agreed to in all its details by both him and the Prime Minister.

The Prime Minister then said that he would like to give further consideration to the paper. He proposed to submit a suggestion regarding the post-HUSKY operations in the Mediterranean and also a proposal regarding the information that was to be given to the Chinese concerning the Burma decisions. He suggested, therefore, that the meeting adjourn at this time to meet again at 1130 on Tuesday morning, 25 May 1943.

This was agreed to.

Prime Minister Churchill’s Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Churchill

Washington, 24 May, 1943.


Camp in North Africa for Refugees From Spain

With reference to your Minute on my note at Flag A. The present position is shown in Lord Halifax’s telegram to the Foreign Office at Flag B.

I submit that you should now go into action with the President on this matter.


[Attachment 1]

Prime Minister Churchill’s Chief of Staff to Prime Minister Churchill

Washington, May 21, 1943.

Most secret

Camp in North Africa for Refugees From Spain (Flag ‘A’)

At the International Refugees Conference recently held in Bermuda, the British Delegates suggested the setting up of a small refugee camp in North Africa to which refugees in Spain, who had escaped from France, could be moved. The proposal was that these refugees should be moved on to some more distant place of refuge when shipping was available. The reasons underlying these proposals are set out in ALCOVE 305.

The U.S. Delegation to the Refugee Conference felt themselves unable to agree without the approval of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. This was sought through the State Department.

The U.S. Chiefs of Staff, however, recommended that the British proposals should not be accepted for the following military reasons:
a) shortage of personnel shipping;
b) shortage of cargo shipping;
c) additional burden placed on the shoulders of the theatre commander;
d) possibility of Arab resentment to the influx of Jews which might cause disorder.

The Joint Staff Mission took the matter up with the U.S. Chiefs of Staff and pointed out how important it was that the only effective channel of escape for refugees of all nationalities from occupied Europe should not be blocked, since if it were, admission of further refugees would be prevented by the Spanish Government; the Allies would be deprived of useful personnel and public opinion throughout the world would believe that the Allies were making no serious effort to deal with the refugee problem. It was argued further that the establishment of a refugee camp in North Africa, far from the Allied lines of communication and under proper supervision, would be no embarrassment to the theatre commander.

It was also pointed out that if these refugees remained in Spain, the Spanish Government would be under continual pressure by the German Government to return them and that the shipping of relatively small numbers from Spain to North Africa would not be difficult.

The Joint Staff Mission suggested that, in view of the above arguments, the Combined Chiefs of Staff should inform the State Department and Foreign Office that they saw no objection, on military grounds, to the setting up of an internment camp in North Africa, at a spot to be selected in consultation with the theatre commander.

Later the U.S. Chiefs of Staff informed the Joint Staff Mission that they adhered to their view that it was militarily undesirable to set up a refugee camp in North Africa for the reasons they had already stated.

The Embassy then took the matter up with the State Department and the latter are understood to have suggested to the President that he should override the objections of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff. This they believe he will do.

The Ambassador was proposing to ask Mr. Hull tomorrow morning how the matter stood. You may wish to await the results of this interview before approaching the President.


[Attachment 2]

Memorandum by President Roosevelt’s Adviser

Washington, undated.

Settlement in Northern Africa: Re Refugees:

The President’s suggestion to look up Italian plans for settlement might bring immediate practical results.

Inquiry to be made as to titles of land, soil and possibilities of compounding water for power irrigation.

If titles are found to be in the Italian Government, matters will be simplified. It will also be satisfactory, if the Italians took over the land from the inhabitants.

I am wondering if the doors of all countries cannot be opened to a few of the refugees. Each one taking a few, would soon take care of many.

The present position of the United States and Britain and the United Nations victories would make the opening up of that possibility greater now than at any other time. They might be persuaded in order to show their adherence to the four freedoms.


[Attachment 3 -- Telegram]

The British Foreign Secretary to Prime Minister Churchill

London, 19 May, 1943.

Alcove No. 305.

Following for the Prime Minister from Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs. Personal.

I am dismayed and depressed by the refusal of the United States Chiefs of Staff to agree to our recommendation that a small camp should be established in North Africa into which to draft refugees from Spain. This suggestion has long been pressed forward by us, on the most urgent representations from H.M. Ambassador in Madrid, and has, I understand, the energetic support of the State Department. It is our main hope of getting refugees out of Spain and so not only satisfying British and American Public opinion, but also keeping open the escape routes from France into Spain which are essential to our military and intelligence services.

  1. This is the only remaining way of getting our pilots and other prisoners out of France. The reasons given by the Chiefs of Staff for rejecting this suggestion are not very convincing, and should I think be overridden by the higher considerations mentioned. The numbers involved are not large and agreement to open a camp even for 1,000 would ease the situation. It is difficult to believe that this would put any particular strain on shipping, while as for admistration it could be undertaken by Governor Lehman’s organisation or we, as was suggested at the Bermuda Conference, would be willing to run the camp with our own officials. As for last objection, namely resentment on the part of the Arabs this could surely be eliminated by putting the camp in a place sufficiently remote from important Arab centres.

  2. The refugees, even while they are in Spain, have to be fed and maintained to a considerable extent from American and British sources, and removal to North Africa, which appears to us essential if we are not to have a serious risk of the Spaniards closing their frontier tight, is we think the most economical suggestion from the point of view of both shipping and supplies. It must inevitably become known in due course that failure to get the “Hard Core” of refugees in Spain removed to the nearest and most convenient alternative destination is due to American military objections which will hardly be accepted as plausible. In that case I foresee extremely serious Parliamentary criticism.

  3. If you see no objection, I should be most grateful if you could put all this personally to the President – it is our last hope of carrying through a modest suggestion to which we attach great political and military importance.

Roosevelt-Churchill meeting, evening

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Lieutenant General Ismay
Mr. Harriman

Harriman’s memorandum to Churchill indicates that such matters as tank production were considered. Ismay’s presence at this meeting suggests that the British proposal for the establishment of a refugee camp in North Africa may also have been discussed. Ismay, who was responsible for keeping Churchill apprised of the American-British negotiations on this issue, urged the Prime Minister on May 24 to “go into action” with Roosevelt on this question.

At this meeting, but quite possibly after their advisers had departed, Churchill requested of Roosevelt that Marshall be allowed to accompany the Prime Minister’s party on a visit to Algiers following the conclusion of the Conference in Washington. The Stimson Diary relates the following information regarding the Churchill request:

Before luncheon I learned that last night in a solitary debate between the President and the Prime Minister over some one of the points in which they both differed and differed vigorously, the Prime Minister… fought to the end and finally said, “Well, I will give up my part of this if you will let me have George Marshall to go for a trip to Africa;” and the President traded on the spot, took the point, and let Marshall go. Marshall told me of it and said he rather hated to be traded like a piece of baggage. I think I know pretty well what the Prime Minister has in prospect. He is going to take Marshall along with him in order to work on him to yield on some of the points that Marshall has held out in regard to the Prime Minister’s desired excursions in the eastern Mediterranean; but to think of picking out the strongest man there is in America, and Marshall is surely that today, the one on whom the fate of the war depends, and then to deprive him in a gamble of a much needed opportunity to recoup his strength by about three days’ rest and send him off on a difficult and rather dangerous trip across the Atlantic Ocean where he is not needed except for Churchill’s purposes is I think going pretty far. But nobody has any say and Marshall is going to pack up his bag tonight and start on his hard trip tomorrow morning on about twelve hours’ notice.

U.S. Navy Department (May 25, 1943)

Communiqué No. 389

North Pacific.
On May 23:

  1. U.S. Army forces continued to advance and exert pressure on Japanese forces on Attu, despite sleet, snow and rain which handicapped operations.

  2. Further details received relating to the attack of six Army Lightning (Lockheed P‑38) fighters on sixteen Japanese twin‑engine bomb­ers (previously reported in Navy Department Communiqué No. 388) reveal that five of the enemy bombers were definitely destroyed and seven addi­tional bombers were probably destroyed. The remaining four Japanese bombers fled to the west. When sighted by U.S. Army fighters, the bombers unloaded their bombs but did not attack any of the U.S. positions.

  3. U.S. Army planes bombed the Japanese main camp area at Kiska.

South Pacific.
On May 23, three Japanese cargo vessels in the Shortland Island area were bombed by Liberator (Consolidated) heavy bombers. Results were not observed.

During the night of May 23‑24:

  1. Guadalcanal Island was attacked by three Japanese bombers. No damage was inflicted on U.S. personnel and positions.

  2. Strong formations of Liberator and Flying Fortress (Boeing B‑17) heavy bombers heavily attacked Japanese positions in the Shortland Island area and at Munda, in the Central Solomons.

  3. One Japanese plane attempted to bomb Espiritu Santo, in the New Hebrides group. The bombs fell without effect into the sea.

U.S. State Department (May 25, 1943)

Hopkins-Churchill meeting, forenoon

United States United Kingdom
Mr. Hopkins Prime Minister Churchill

Hopkins persuaded Churchill to give up his attempt to obtain a radical revision of the Final Report and to settle, instead, for some minor changes. Churchill recalls having been warned by Hopkins of the futility of pressing his recommendations regarding post-HUSKY operations.

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff, 10:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Field Marshal Dill
Lieutenant General Somervell Lieutenant General Ismay
Vice Admiral Horne Admiral Noble
Major General Fairchild Lieutenant General Macready
Rear Admiral Cooke Air Marshal Welsh
Major General Streett Major General Holmes
Brigadier General Wedemeyer Captain Lambe
Colonel Cabell Brigadier Jacob
Commander Freseman Brigadier Porter
Commander Long Air Commodore Elliot
Brigadier Macleod
Brigadier Redman
Brigadier General Deane
Commander Coleridge
Lieutenant Colonel Vittrup

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 25, 1943, 10:30 a.m.


Conclusions of the Minutes of the 95th Meeting

Admiral King suggested an amendment to Conclusion c of Item 2.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the Conclusions of the 95th Meeting as recorded in the Minutes, but with the substitution of the word “Pacific” for “Indian” in Conclusion c of Item 2 and the addition of the words “(including Burma)” after the words “Far Eastern Theaters.”

Final Report to President and Prime Minister (CCS 242/4 and 242/5)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff had before them CCS 242/4, together with certain amendments suggested by the Prime Minister (CCS 242/5).

Certain other minor amendments were suggested and approved.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the final report to the President and Prime Minister, as modified by CCS 242/5 and as amended in the course of discussion.

Implementation of Decisions Reached at the Trident Conference (CCS 250)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff had before them a memorandum by the Combined Staff Planners covering suggested directives and instructions to General Eisenhower and General Morgan, prepared in the light of the decisions reached at the TRIDENT Conference.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested an amendment to paragraph 1 c of the Memorandum by the Combined Staff Planners.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff considered certain amendments to the draft directives contained in Enclosures “A” and “B.”

General Marshall presented a proposal that an additional statement be added at the end of paragraph 1 of CCS 250 to the effect that shipping available for Post-HUSKY Mediterranean operations would amount to 15 combat loaders and 90 cargo ships.

Sir Charles Portal indicated that he thought that before the British Chiefs of Staff could agree to specify an exact number of ships the matter would have to be explored further.

Admiral King suggested adding the statement at the end of paragraph one:

Further instructions will be issued as to the availability of combat loaders and cargo ships.

Admiral King’s proposal was agreed to.

Admiral Leahy suggested that the recommendations in the covering Memorandum to the Combined Staff Planners, as amended, be approved, but that the final directives be prepared by the Secretariat in the light of the discussion and of the latest decisions.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff:
a. Approved the covering memorandum by the Combined Staff Planners as amended in the course of discussion.

b. Approved the draft directive to General Eisenhower (Enclosure “A”) and the draft supplementary directive to the Chief of Staff to the Supreme Commander (Designate) (Enclosure “B”), subject to the incorporation therein by the Secretaries of the agreed decisions that had been arrived at subsequent to the preparation of these draft directives.

Suggested Statement to Be Made to the Chinese (Unnumbered CCS Memorandum dated 25 May 1943)

General Marshall said that since he had a meeting with the Chinese Representatives at 3 p.m. that afternoon he would like guidance from the Combined Chiefs of Staff as to the form in which the decisions of the Conference should be conveyed to the Chinese. He urged that the decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with reference to Burma be presented as proposals since it would be improper to imply a decision had been made regarding the use of the Generalissimo’s forces.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff were of the opinion that the formal transmission of the decisions to the Chinese should be made by the President and Prime Minister to the Generalissimo.

Certain amendments to the draft contained in the memorandum under discussion were then inserted in order to conform to this conception.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved with minor amendments, the suggested statement to be made to the Chinese.

Proposals for Improving Combined Planning (CCS 251)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff considered a Memorandum by the Combined Staff Planners containing certain proposals for improving Combined Planning.

Sir Alan Brooke suggested an amendment to paragraph 2 a of the Memorandum designed to make it clear that the war against Japan should be considered as a whole.

Admiral Leahy suggested that paragraph 2 b should be eliminated since, in his view, the function of the Combined Staff Planners was to advise the Combined Chiefs of Staff on plans prepared by theater commanders and not to personally assist theater commanders. He felt that the presence of the Combined Staff Planners at theater headquarters might interfere with the function of theater commanders and their staffs.

Admiral Cooke and Captain Lambe explained that this paragraph had been inserted since it was believed that the Combined Staff Planners could, if they visited General Eisenhower’s headquarters, prove useful by imparting information and data as regards resources which would assist him in drawing up his plans and, at the same time, themselves learn at an early stage of the possible plans and requirements.

The Combined Chiefs of Staff: Approved the proposals put forward by the Combined Staff Planners, subject to certain amendments which have been incorporated in CCS 251/1.

Conclusion of the Conference

Sir Alan Brooke said that, on behalf of the British Chiefs of Staff, he would like to express most heartfelt thanks for the kindness, both official and unofficial, which the British Chiefs of Staff had received during their visit. They had been met in a spirit of cooperation which had proved most helpful. The fundamental value of the exchange of views between the Chiefs of Staff of the two Nations had been proved by the fact that they had agreed to hold the next Conference at an early date. Short periods between meetings were, he felt, essential. If the lapse of time between successive meetings was too long, the views of each nation were more likely to become divergent.

Sir Alan Brooke paid tribute to the Combined Staff Planners who had worked at great pressure and whose high standard of work had gone far to assist the Combined Chiefs of Staff in reaching rapid decisions.

With regard to the results of the Conference, agreement had been reached on all vital points and through the process of reaching agreement, each side had achieved a clearer appreciation of the outlook and conception of the other. Finally, the Conference had strengthened those ties of friendship between the two Staffs, which was so essential to true cooperation in the war.

Admiral Leahy, on behalf of the U.S. Chiefs of Staff, said that they too had an equal appreciation of the value of this conference and looked forward with assurance to equally successful results from future conferences. Frequent meetings were, in his opinion, essential. It had been a great pleasure to him to assist, for the first time, in personal consultation with the British Chiefs of Staff. This Conference had enabled the Chiefs of Staff to clarify the outlook for the immediate future and subsequent conferences would enable them to deal as successfully with future problems.

Meeting of the Combined Chiefs of Staff with Roosevelt and Churchill, 11:30 a.m.

United States United Kingdom
President Roosevelt Prime Minister Churchill
Mr. Hopkins Field Marshal Dill
Admiral Leahy General Brooke
General Marshall Admiral of the Fleet Pound
Admiral King Air Chief Marshal Portal
Lieutenant General McNarney Lieutenant General Ismay
Brigadier General Deane
Brigadier Jacob

Combined Chiefs of Staff Minutes

May 25, 1943, 11:30 a.m.


Employment of the Poles

The Prime Minister said that he had had a strong appeal from General Sikorski for the employment of the Polish troops in battle in the near future. He hoped that these good troops could be made use of.

Sir Alan Brooke said that the Polish troops in the United Kingdom, which amounted to one armored division and one brigade, had been included in the forces earmarked for ROUNDHAMMER; and the two Polish divisions and certain minor formations now in Iraq had been included in the 19 British and Allied divisions available for further operations in the Mediterranean.

Final Report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff to the President and Prime Minister (CCS 242/4); and Amendments Thereto Suggested by the Prime Minister (CCS 242/5)

The Combined Chiefs of Staff reported that they were in entire agreement with the amendments proposed by the Prime Minister and would incorporate these in the final edition of the report.

The Prime Minister suggested that it would be necessary to give a version of the report to the Russians. This version could be drawn up in suitable form for handing to the Russians through the normal official channels. This would obviate the necessity for an explanatory telegram from the President and himself. The message could simply be sent saying that a full report would be reaching them through the American and British representatives in Moscow.

The President and the Prime Minister:
a. Gave final approval to the report by the Combined Chiefs of Staff, as amended in accordance with the Prime Minister’s suggestions.

b. Instructed the Secretaries to prepare for their approval a version of the report suitable for communication to the Russians through the normal official channels.

Communication of Certain Decisions to the Chinese

The Conference had before them a suggested phraseology to be employed in communicating to the Chinese the decisions regarding operations in the Burma-China Theater, which had been suggested by the Prime Minister. (Shown in the Annex to these Minutes.)

General Marshall said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff had certain minor modifications to propose (which he read to the President and the Prime Minister), apart from which they were in entire agreement with the Prime Minister’s suggestion.

After further discussion, it was agreed: That the President and General Marshall should make use of the form of words contained in the Annex to these minutes in conversation with Dr. Soong and General Chu respectively, and should hand them copies of the document for their retention.

Official Statement for the Press

The President said that it would be necessary to consider the terms of a statement to be given to the Press at a suitable moment after the Prime Minister had left Washington.

Mr. Harry Hopkins said that he had drafted a statement, and he proceeded to read his draft to the Conference.

General agreement was expressed with the terms of the draft, and Mr. Hopkins was asked to prepare it in final form for issue.

Visit of General Stilwell and General Chennault to the United Kingdom

The Prime Minister said that it would be of very great value if General Stilwell and General Chennault, with their unrivaled knowledge of the Burma-China Theater, could return to their posts via London. He understood that the route through London was actually three days shorter than the route across the Southern Atlantic; and since Field Marshal Wavell and Admiral Somerville would also be going to London, the visit of the two generals would serve to give a great impetus to the work necessary to enable the decisions of the Combined Chiefs of Staff for operations in the Burma-China Theater to be implemented.

General Marshall said that he was entirely agreeable to this suggestion and would issue the necessary orders.

Post-HUSKY Operations

The President said that the Prime Minister would shortly have an opportunity of talking to the Commanders in Chief in North Africa on post-HUSKY policy, and had suggested that it would be of great value if General Marshall could accompany him. He (the President) had accordingly spoken to General Marshall, and asked whether he could defer his visit to the Southwest Pacific in order to fall in with the Prime Minister’s request. General Marshall had said that he was perfectly willing to do this.

The Prime Minister explained that he would feel awkward in discussing these matters with General Eisenhower without the presence of a United States representative on the highest level. If decisions were taken, it might subsequently be thought that he had exerted undue influence. It was accordingly a source of great gratification to him to hear that General Marshall would accompany him; and he was sure that it would now be possible to arrange everything satisfactorily in Algiers, and for a report to be sent back to the Combined Chiefs of Staff for their consideration.

Code Names for Future Operations

Admiral Leahy said that the Combined Chiefs of Staff recommended the adoption of certain code names, a list of which he handed to the President.

In discussion, certain modifications to the list were agreed upon.

The final list as approved has been given to those immediately concerned.

The PLOUGH Scheme

General Marshall read to the Conference a report which he had received upon the state of training and readiness for action of the force which had been specially set aside and trained for the PLOUGH scheme. It was the firm opinion of all the United States and British officers concerned in the matter that this force, which numbered some 2,500 men, should be given battle experience as soon as possible. The force, which had been given amphibious training in addition to the special training for the PLOUGH scheme, had been worked up to a high pitch of readiness, and provided it were not uselessly dissipated, it would greatly benefit by coming into action. It could be reassembled for its proper role before the winter. There were a number of possible places where the force might be utilized, such as the Aleutians, or post-HUSKY operations, or for commando raids from the U.K. or even in the Azores. It was perhaps a pity that they had not been employed in the operations against Attu, but an opportunity might occur for using them in another operation in that area.

Sir Alan Brooke agreed that the value of the force would be greatly increased by early participation in battle.

General McNarney said that the improved type of vehicle for use by the force would be ready about the middle of October.

The Prime Minister said that this force had been designed for a particular type of warfare and it would be a great pity to dissipate it if there were a chance of its real role coming to the fore. Nevertheless, he thought that it would be quite easy to create an opportunity for its employment if it was sent to the United Kingdom. It might be possible, for example, to repeat a raid on the coast of Norway of the type of the raid on the Lofoeten Islands.

The President suggested that it would be necessary also to consider the utilization of the Norwegian battalion now in the United States.

The Prime Minister agreed. He suggested that the British Chiefs of Staff should consider this matter immediately and make specific proposals to the Combined Chiefs of Staff.

This suggestion was agreed to.

Consultations With the Russians

The President asked whether any steps had been taken to concert measures with the Russians in case of an attack by Japan on Russia.

General Marshall said that an attempt had been made to discuss this eventuality with the Russians, and General Bradley had been sent to Moscow for the purpose. After three months’ negotiation, it had been agreed that he should survey the airfields in Siberia, but the Russians had then reversed the decision and the whole proposal had fallen to the ground.

The President said that the Russians naturally did not wish to permit any act which might compromise them in the eyes of the Japanese. Nevertheless, it would be a pity if the occasion arose and no plans had been made. It might be desirable, for example, to send forces to help the Russians to hold Kamchatka.

The Prime Minister agreed, but thought the Russians would be unlikely to be forthcoming. He suggested that one way of making progress would be to say to the Russians that we would be prepared to send them so many squadrons of aircraft so many days after the outbreak of the war with Japan. We could tell the Russians that they could count on this reinforcement in making their plans. This might lead them on to discussion.

General McNarney said that this proposal had in fact been made, but the only Russian response had been to suggest that the aircraft should be given to them so that they could fly them themselves.

Admiral King said that a running study was in existence of the possibilities presented by a Russo-Japanese war, and this had been reviewed three months previously. Little, however, could be done without additional data.

The Conference took note of the above discussion.

Adjournment of the Conference

The TRIDENT Conference then adjourned, the Prime Minister expressing his gratitude for the warm welcome which he had received and his appreciation of the work which had been accomplished.

The Pittsburgh Press (May 25, 1943)

Way left open for porta-to-portal pay

WLB orders new contract negotiations

300 U.S. planes hammer Italian isles and ports

Nazi troops move to Sardinia; Allies bomb nine points on island; Pantelleria also hit by U.S. fliers

Sleet, snow impeding U.S. Attu mop-up

Navy reports Japs being pushed back slowly despite storms

German admits anti-sub blows

May one of best months for Allied shipping
By Clinton B. Conger, United Press staff writer

ODT orders slashes in deliveries

Hauling of 15 retail items forbidden; gas prices not yet reached

Mrs. Dempsey kissed Jenkins, witness states

Rigid control imposed –
WPB eliminates frills from women’s clothing

Order interpreted as an attempt to stall rationing; double-breasted suits banned